Rider Report: Armstead Helps Riders Break Out of Third-Quarter Slump

Jonathan HamelinCorrespondent INovember 23, 2009

It is official; Jason Armstead has made the most out of the second chance with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.


Armstead played a huge role in the Roughriders’ two third-quarters touchdowns that helped the team defeat the visiting Calgary Stampeders 27-17, sending them to the Grey Cup on Sunday against the Montreal Alouettes.


Tied at 10 going into the second half, Armstead ripped off a 75-yard return that led Saskatchewan to a touchdown. On the next drive, Armstead connected with receiver Robb Bagg for a 42-yard strike on a slot back pass. The Roughriders went on to score a touchdown.


It was sweet justice for Armstead, who had been going through a rough patch in his career before signing with the Roughriders this season.


After coming over to Saskatchewan from the Ottawa Renegades in the 2006 dispersal draft, Armstead failed to live up to his 2005 all-star selection. In 2005, Armstead accumulated over 1,300 yards receiving. In 2006, Armstead gained less than half those receiving yards.


In 2007, Armstead felt he deserved a bigger role with the Roughriders, and was subsequently traded to the Hamilton Tiger Cats for return man Corey Holmes and receiver Chris Getlzaf.


Armstead ended up bouncing around the league, including stops in Montreal and Winnipeg. Finally, mid way through this season, the Roughriders reunited with Armstead. Some questioned the move, but the Roughriders had been lacking a consis10t return man all season long.


Armstead soon found new life with Saskatchewan.


He racked up over 800 yards in kick-off returns and nearly 400 yards in punt returns. For his efforts, Armstead was named the Roughriders special-teams’-player-of-the-year.


Last Sunday’s Western Final only confirmed that acquiring Armstead was a smart move. Armstead played a huge role in helping the Roughriders break out of their third quarter slump with two touchdowns.


And what a time to break out of a third quarter slump.


Up until that point, the Roughriders had been in a dog fight with the Stampeders. Thanks to a Roughriders’ turnover and poor field position in the first quarter, the Stampeders amassed a 10-point lead. The Riders managed to tie the game going into the second half thanks to a solid second quarter.


After an Armstead aided third quarter, the Riders never looked back, outscoring Calgary by 10 points.


Armstead finished the game with over 100 yards in kickoff returns.


It is apparent that Armstead has made the most of his second chance with the Roughriders, and that second chance has led Saskatchewan to their second Grey Cup appearance in three years.